As I returned home from my first visit to ASH, I was still at a loss for words for what I witnessed while at the conference. The hype that I had when anticipating getting there lived up to my expectations. It took me a while to grasp the concept of the Abstracts. Once I got the hang of everything, things fell into place. From a patient’s perspective, ASH was something that I had only heard my medical staff speak of and never thought I’d have to opportunity to attend.
What I took from this event is, that there is a great deal of hope for myeloma patients—especially for the newly diagnosed patients. One thing that was disheartening to me was the fact that WE WILL RELAPSE. This is a fact that I already have known. I have relapsed a total of four times. It’s a thought that I keep in the back of my mind and not one that I want to hear. How long will it take? Who knows! Everybody’s myeloma is different. Some of the research that they presented showed that it could be between three to five years depending on what treatment regimen that you were on.
There was an abundance of seminars that was myeloma specific. There were abstracts simultaneously ongoing about myeloma studies on current treatment regimen. Every forum that we attended was full of the future myeloma specialist and researchers in attendance. As I sat through one of the oral sessions with my Dr., she was interested in the Selinexor storm trial. This is one of a list of new drugs that is offered that was the highlight of ASH 2016. It’s targeting patients with quad and penta refractories to treatment. I have a few in my support group that this drug may target.
As I close my chapter from my first experience at ASH, my thoughts resolve back to the word “HOPE”. This is exactly what I feel is offered with the knowledge that I obtained from ASH. The IMF made it possible for me to attend and they made my journey comfortable. In my area, I am considered as a role model in the myeloma community. Every role model needs a role model. I have definitely found that with the Support Group Leaders that attended this event with me.